As the Chinese government continues its effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, the country’s central bank at a press conference told media it was going to begin literally cleaning its currency.
It’s an extreme move that makes sense. Whether it’s dollars, pounds, euros, shekels, or in this case yuan, the currency is notoriously dirty.
A 2017 study of $1 bills in New York found some 397 bacterial species living on the surface. And when someone with the flu handles it, that virus has been shown to survive for up to 12 days.
The World Health Organization has said that it is still not known how long the coronavirus can survive on surfaces and objects, including money. Preliminary information has shown it can survive a few hours or more but can be killed with basic disinfectants.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (centre) speaks with medical workers at a Wuhan hospital. (AP pic)
China’s coronavirus response now includes cash cleansing. Photo/Courtesy
Under normal circumstances, governments around the world spend around $10 billion a year to replace currency that’s in bad condition. But when something as severe as the coronavirus is spreading, a nation may opt to take more drastic measures.
One method for cleaning money is to use ultraviolet light or high temperatures on it, then seal the cash away for one to two weeks before releasing it back into circulation. When possible, the Chinese bank said, it would provide brand-new banknotes to people.
The decision comes as the Chinese government faces considerable domestic backlash over its handling of the coronavirus. As of today, there have been over 67,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 1,527 deaths. Meanwhile, the 11 million people living in Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre and capital of Hubei Province, have been living under tight lockdown. Hospitals there are so overpopulated that the government has erected and herded people into makeshift quarantine camps.
The government has also faced criticism for attempting to control the flow of information around the spread of the virus. It largely failed to do that, though at least two citizen journalists have gone missing after reporting on the situation in Wuhan.
Today, the first coronavirus death outside Asia was reported in France. In that case, an 80-year-old tourist from Hubei Province died at Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital in the north of Paris. France has 11 confirmed cases of the illness.
President Xi Jinping said Tuesday China was in a struggle against a “demon” epidemic, as the death toll from the new SARS-like virus soared to hundred thousands.
Xi made his remarks during talks with the head of the World Health Organisation in Beijing as a host of nations prepared to airlift their citizens from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
“Chinese people are currently engaged in a serious struggle against an epidemic of a new type of coronavirus infection,” Xi told WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“The epidemic is a demon, and we cannot let this demon hide,” the Chinese leader said, pledging that the government would be transparent and release information on the virus in a “timely” manner.
As Kenyans train their focus on the shocking details of ’23 minutes con game’ at the Harambee Annex Office, which hosts the office of the Deputy President, they may have missed the main point.
Apparently, Ruto is no ordinary DP; Ruto is ‘obsessed’ with taking over power from President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022, and he is preparing to violently subdue his critics if elected Kenya’s fifth President.
Former CS Rashid Echesa was not procuring the equipment for the Government, but for DP Ruto in preparation of the 2022 succession matrix.
Ruto’s trip to South Sudan recently has been unmasked too; he is assembling and preparing an opposition army that will unleash terror on those who will oppose him.
The equipment in question has been rated as highly sophisticated and dangerous by security analysts.
Not only would they be able to conduct a vast network of digital and physical espionage, but they would also be able to filter, collect, and analyze staggering volumes of data flowing across the internet, and includes an advanced algorithmic surveillance system with facial and voice recognition.
In the wrong hands, such a system could be used to remotely alter government records, manipulate electioneering, exploit electronic banking, adjust tax records or conduct sabotage of untold proportions.
Such deals are usually done at high-level government to government contracting and not with civilians merely providing in-country logistical support.
Unknown to Echesa and his co-accused, they have been on the radar of Kenyan and US authorities for several months.
The American Federal Bureau of Investigation agents based in Nairobi were reportedly keenly following the case which has led to suspicion that the equipment, highly advanced integrated communication and security surveillance arsenal, which includes unmanned aerial vehicles, was intended to eavesdrop on the regional intelligence community.
Other sources intimated that Echesa, who is widely believed to be the front of DP Ruto, was using Kenya as a conduit for brokering illicit arms to aid themselves and facilitate groups that are planning to execute a coup d’état in 2022 should Ruto fail to win the presidency.
The case drew specific interest following confirmed reports of Kenyan officials engaging in cross border contraband trading and illicit arms transfer especially between lawless Somalia and Southern Sudan.
Echesa’s case is reminiscent of another similar one in September 2008 when a band of Somali pirates made a shocking discovery inside a Ukrainian ship they had just hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. The MV Faina was found packed with sophisticated weapons, including 32 Soviet-era battle tanks.
According to several secret US State Department cables made public by WikiLeaks, the tanks were not only headed to Southern Sudan, then under UN sanctions, but they were also the latest instalment of several underground arms shipments made by unscrupulous Kenyan businessmen.
By the time the freighter was seized by the pirates, up to 67 T-72 tanks and an unknown number of rocket launchers had already been delivered to Juba to bolster Southern Sudan’s armed forces against the government in Khartoum, then an international pariah for its human rights abuses in Darfur.
A source at Ulinzi House (KDF Headquarters) reported that the documentation seized by sleuths in Echesa’s car were not issued by the KDF, a development which has raised serious questions touching on national and regional security.
Surveillance equipment and hi-tech gear used by private investigators
Echesa with executives of Eco Advanced Technologies LLC in Warsaw, Poland Photo/Courtesy
In a statement on Monday, the State Department for Defense explicitly denied the existence of such a deal and said none of its officers had met nor negotiated with Echesa or officials of Eco Advanced Technologies.
On his part, a spokesman for DP Ruto was at pains to disassociate the Office of the Deputy President from Echesa. All evidence suggests that Ruto knew about the deal.
Officers from the Kenyan National Intelligence Service were understandably gathering more information on Echesa, including examining evidence that Echesa was used by persons not before the court to procure equipment for building a parallel intelligence system in order to circumvent State surveillance.
Investigators believe Echesa is a puppet in a major arms-dealing, extortion and money laundering transnational organised crime cartel which could be operating in several countries in the region.
Echesa has in past been implicated in a human trafficking case.
Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) arrested a murder suspect at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
In a statement by the DCI on Tuesday morning, the suspect identified as Ajak Dau Aketch, 38 years old, was to board a KLM flight to Arizona via Amsterdam.
Ajak Dau Akech holds a hard copy of his refugee identification document.
He had been flagged down by detectives from Turkana West who were trailing him over a murder investigation.
“DCI detectives based at JKIA in collaboration with officers have arrested one foreigner namely Ajak Dau Aketch aged 38 years on a stop order placed by DCI Turkana West detectives for the offence of murder,” part of the statement read.
Ajak Dau Akech, a South Sudan national, is a member of the Lost Boys of Sudan who fled from the civil war in Sudan in 1988 and walked 1,000 perilous miles to a refugee camp in Ethiopia, where they were rescued and shipped to Arizona, United Stated.
Kenyans should treat rumors and finger pointing towards the Kenya Defense Forces as the sole executor of the fake arms procurement scandal as lies being peddled by people who should be telling Kenyans what they know about the alleged scandals.
The complainants have never interacted with any representative from the Department of Defense.
The Complainants have never visited the Department of defense.
The Department of Defense has elaborate and well laid down procurement procedures – Bogita Ongeri-KDF Spokesperson.
The Kenya Defense forces have issued a statement on the military arms and equipment scandal from Poland, distancing itself from the scandal through a strongly worded document which in essence, is targeting the Deputy President Dr. Ruto’s allegations that the CID should look for evidence from the Department of Defense because the equipment were to be used by them.
In a terse memo to the media houses, the Kenya Defense Forces Spokesperson Dr. Bogita Ongeri said that the Kenyan Military is a disciplined force and cannot flout procurement rules and use politicians to negotiate or procure for them equipment which they don’t even know how to use. So Kenyans should treat Dr.Ruto’s claims as pure lies that are basically a diversionary tactic.
The Deputy President had twitted earlier claiming that if Kenyans want to know the truth, then the Department of Defense are better placed to answer on the scandal, not his office where he says the investors spent only a record 23 minutes. So, there was no way the scandal could have been executed in his office.
Kenyans on social media, TV and Radio interviews have lambasted Dr.William Ruto and called on him to reveal to Kenyans what he knows about the deal which he has tried to distance himself from, but unfortunately, it’s alleged that all evidence and execution of the scam, points fingers to his Harambee Annex office.
The military Scam has taken the nation by storm as the Kitui Governor Hon. Charity Ngilu has told the Deputy President to step aside to allow for proper investigation to take place rather than trying to defend himself on twitter and on social media forums.
Kieleweke wing of the Jubilee Party has found fodder and are calling for the sacking, resignation or impeachment of the Deputy President because his office has become a crime scene and Dr. Ruto, they claim, can’t be trusted with leadership because of the high level corruption scandals that are being coined and then executed in his office in Harambee Annex.
In one of the first forays into what was formerly a Jubilee Party stronghold, ODM leader Raila Odinga led the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to the Maa community.
Marshalling former DP Ruto allies including Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku and his Narok counterpart Samuel Tunai, Odinga convened a meeting to popularize the initiative.
Also in the forum were several legislators, from the Maasai community, Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, Migori Governor Okoth Obado and Samburu Deputy Governor Julius Leseeto.
In a statement, Odinga revealed that the Maasai community has been selectively excluded from the national debate in successive regimes and that this was their opportunity to canvass their issues.
The BBI rallies were halted following the demise of former President Daniel Moi upon which, a planned rally in Makueni was postponed during the entire funeral proceedings.
The BBI debate has had major casualties especially after President Kenyatta directed that all Cabinet Secretaries be valued based on their commitment to the initiative, among other performance parameters.
Former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri would be axed after he managed to bring together more than 50 Mt Kenya leaders in a meeting whose agenda was speculated as to ‘frustrate the BBI.’
The Tanga Tanga wing of the Jubilee coalition has since laid plans to conduct parallel BBI rallies across the country with a view to making their ‘contributions count.’